As I write, Kathryn is heading East on some long stretch of highway journeying towards home. She has just finished college, earned a degree in Journalism and seeks new adventures on the East coast.
I miss her already.
She swept into our life when we needed a "pick me up" and she did it so well. She was really just being herself, Kathryn. But she brought something unique to us at the perfect time.
My husband and I were in a conversation a couple months ago with someone. She asked us, "What keeps you guys in People of Praise?" We both gave it some thought and shared our answers. One thing I said was that I really appreciate the many ways that People of Praise cares for the whole person. From the tiniest, smallest beings to the oldest and most frail adults, we are there - caring for each person. We offer dignity, hope, prayer, practical care, wisdom, financial support, car rides, living spaces, help with education, etc.
I mean, you name it, we try to do it...to care for each life from the earliest stages to the last. We even care for couples as they are trying to conceive and we care for widows and families grieving a lost spouse and father.
When I think about that quality, I look at certain people who actually do it. Kathryn immediately comes to mind. Next to her engaging conversation ability and work ethic, I will miss her effort to be in relationships with the young, the middle-aged, and the elderly. She has a heart for each person no matter their age. She makes a point of making friends with anyone around. And she goes out of her way bridge the gap of age and bless each person she thinks of and desires to get to know better. She has blessed my children with gifts, her time, her hugs, her stories, her laughter. She called me one night to ask about her bringing Mary, an elderly woman in community, to our place for dinner. She became a roommate and friend to our neighbor Shellee. She jumped right into our hub life taking ownership of it and doing her darndest to be there when we were sharing our lives together. And if she couldn't make it, she called ahead with a heads up, always expressing her wish that she could join us.
Did I mention she is 21 years old?
I mean, she kind of defies the usual image of someone that age. She lives as a sister in Christ to anyone. She has strengthened our branch of the People of Praise with an example of caring for the whole person, a whole life. And all of this in the midst of holding three jobs as a reporter, managing a normal class load, and being faithful to the regular commitments of our life in People of Praise.
Some day, we'll see her name in a prominent newspaper or magazine and she will have written about something amazing going on in the world.
But, I'll always treasure the little ways she chose to love.
Each of us. Right where we are at.
Here she is surrounded by friends who love her.